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McDonald’s looks to capitalise on soccer WC fever

MUMBAI: McDonald’s, which is one of soccer’s governing body Fifa’s partners, is looking to gain mileage from the soccer World Cup. This time around it has become more aggressive and is doing the McDonald’s Player Escort Programme. This is the first time that it has brought the programme to India.

This programme gives one child (age of 6 to 10), accompanied by a parent or guardian, a chance to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to participate in the excitement and passion of Fifa World Cup. 1,408 children (aged 6-10) across the globe are being given by McDonald’s the opportunity to attend the tournament and walk hand-in-hand onto the pitch with soccer players.

McDonalds’ association with Fifa has been going on for 20 years.

Speaking to Televisionpost.com, Hardcastle Restaurants senior director, marketing, communications and menu management Rameet Arora said that the World Cup is part of McDonald’s plan of placing customers at the core of all its activities. “All the communication and marketing strategies are designed keeping in mind the customer benefit and engagement. This is the first time that this programme has been brought to India which will help bring the excitement of the world’s most-watched sporting event to life for millions of young customers across our restaurants. The association with Fifa and launch of the Player Escort programme is aimed to fuel kids’ passion for the game and inspire a healthy balanced lifestyle, while also giving one lucky winner a chance to live their dream and be a part of this extraordinary journey.”

To create awareness about the programme, McDonald’s ran a TVC campaign announcing the launch of the Player Escort Programme across all channels. “We also activated local store marketing (LSM) initiatives for creating awareness about this programme. We are running a campaign on traditional and new age media platforms to keep our customers informed and engaged with the brand. These brand engagement activities are being undertaken to build awareness around the campaign.”

Beyond the contest McDonald’s will be launching specially-themed menu items, packaging and undertaking restaurant promotions to support the campaign and garner more footfalls. “This Fifa World Cup, a broad selection of artists from the globe have come together to create never seen before new designs, based on various country themes, for the iconic French Fry box. This unique collaboration is being shared with the world, touching millions of McDonald’s customers and football fans alike across cultures in 118 countries. This is the first time globally that the packaging of the iconic Fry box is being changed.”

Talking about the challenges that the QSR food segment is facing which has been badly affected by the economic slowdown, he notes that today’s consumer is savvy, informed and empowered which makes his buying decisions more complex than ever, and delivering “good” or better value, quality, and convenience alone are no longer enough for brands to consistently win with consumers.

“We make an effort to reiterate the fact that McDonald’s is a great place to visit with family and friends – a place that offers good food at great value. Our strategy is to achieve value by enhancing experience (offering best quality), while keeping prices reasonable.”